Online meetings are an efficient means of face-to-face communication. They are more personal than phone calls and cheaper as well as less time-consuming than most meetings at specific locations. The personality factor plays a big role. Looks, facial expressions and body language are important components of our everyday communication. Through them, we convey countless signals that are lost in conversations over the phone or email.
Advantages of online meetings
Internally, video conferences facilitate intensified and more productive collaboration better than emails or Slack messages. In times of lockdowns and remote work anyway, but also in “normal” everyday office work, especially in larger companies.
At Tucan.ai some of us work fully remotely. For spontaneous brainstorming sessions and coordination, we usually call short online meetings instead of sending long messages back and forth. This saves us all a lot of time and energy without losing the possibility to automatically record and document everything.
Conferencing tools offer many advantages for external communication too. For example, they reduce hurdles regarding customer acquisition. The path from the initial contact via email to a first personal meeting is much shorter using online meetings than with personal appointments “on premise”. And not only sales meetings, also customer onboarding, workshops and training sessions can be conducted with far less effort and resources.
If you’re on a tight budget, you should use the free version of Zoom. The tool provides clear audio quality with great background noise cancellation, an option to share your desktop and a video recording function to save and send the meeting output to those who can’t attend.
Zoom further offers a row of fun features to get participants more involved, including a chat window, a show button and a poll option. In addition, the tool lets you schedule your online meetings directly in your Gmail, iCal or Outlook calendar and can seamlessly integrate with the most popular CRM.
Tucan.ai also offers its own connection with Zoom through which users can get their meetings automatically recorded, transcribed and exported. The easiest way to use it with Zoom is through the Tucan Bot. He can be invited to meetings via email. Like a human being, it passively takes part in conversations and listens in. He processes the recordings and transcriptions directly in Zoom so that you can view and edit them immediately.
Outside of your meetings, Zoom unfortunately offers no options for further collaboration, data exchange or follow-up messages. Another major drawback of Zoom is the lack of an agenda function. In addition, links and comments in the chat disappear after the meeting and are not documented anywhere.
In general, Zoom is a great option for start-ups and small businesses. However, the app causes a few problems as it gets bigger. With the free version, for example, you can invite up to 100 participants to meetings of up to 40 minutes. However, all-staff meetings with more than 100 people would then be subject to a fee.
2. Google Meet
Google Meet is a very user-friendly tool and even free for up to 100 people if there is no need for recording and storage. It easily connects into a number of other apps and allows unlimited storage on Drive. Tucan.ai can be integrated with Google Meet too.
The free version of Google Meet does not offer the ability to record or save calls. So if you want to use these features, you unfortunately have to buy a paid upgrade. Which can be especially relevant for businesses: There are no personalised trainings for Google Meet.
Google Meet is free for up to 100 participants and an unlimited number of meetings. If you want to record and store conversations, you will have to pay 8 USD per user for 100 GB of storage space.
3. MS Teams
MS Teams is a great tool for you if you want to work in closed groups or “teams”, which is especially useful for collaborations with external project partners or clients. Within these teams, you can set up as many communication channels as you like with different focuses.
MS Teams is also particularly suitable if you want to organise conferences or webinars with more than 250 participants. Besides the possibility of using separate chat groups during video conferences, the software also offers several “engagement functions” such as comments and mentions. In addition, the Microsoft programme is currently considered the market leader in Europe in terms of data security.
One disadvantage of MS Teams is the absence of authorisation options for access to notes, files and channels within a team. Unfortunately, this also means that you cannot invite temporary guest users to certain channels.
MS Teams can unfortunately only be used to its full potential as part of a Microsoft subscription. The cheapest package without support and extended security functions, Microsoft 365 Business Basic, is available for 5 USD per user and month including a commitment of one year. The more feature-rich Business Standard and E3 versions cost 12.50 and 20 USD respectively.
If you’re on a tight budget and frequently call people from all over the world, Skype could be a good option for you. The software is both free and toll-free to use worldwide. Plus, up to 50 people can participate in a video call at the same time. The tool is also easy to install and use.
The audio quality is not always optimal with Skype. This depends mainly on participants’ bandwidths. Moreover, since Skype calls are not cloud-based, data can always be intercepted. This makes it a less secure option than some others in our list.
Chanty is a teamwork platform with a built-in video calling feature. The software supports both individual video calls and group conferencing. What is especially exciting about Chanty is the ability to share a screen during a meeting. Another advantage: texts, links and files shared during the video call remain chat saved and can be accessed again later. It also integrates with a whole lot of third-party applications such as Trello, Asana, Zapier, Google Drive, Dropbox, Onedrive, Gitlab and Mailchimp, among others.
Video calls with Chanty are unfortunately only available for up to 30 participants. Users have, on top of that, still no option to share meeting invitations via a link.
The free Chanty offer can be used by a maximum of 10 users. The Chanty Business Plan starts at 3.00 USD per user and month.